What are the Signs of Heroin Addiction?
If you worry someone you love has a heroin addiction, this is what you need to keep an eye out for.
Are you worried someone you love shows signs of heroin addiction? Alarming rates of heroin use across the United States have many worried their loved ones might fall prey. The number of people who have tried heroin climbs each year. As of 2017, 2.2 percent of people ages 26 and older have tried heroin at least once in their life.
The overdose statistics paint an even more sobering picture of the situation. 70,237 people died of a drug-related overdose in 2017. Heroin alone caused 15,482 of those fatalities, more than 22 percent of all overdoses. If heroin claims the lives of nearly 1 out of every 4 people who overdose, your concern is understandable.
While not everyone who uses drugs becomes addicted to them, heroin has a high potential for dependence and eventual addiction. Using heroin and other opioids, such as painkillers, fentanyl, and codeine, leads to a few obvious things to look for in the meantime. Signs of heroin addiction are even more clear.
What are some signs of heroin addiction you should look for if you worry about a loved one? Continue reading to find out some indications to keep an eye on.
Understanding the Signs of Heroin Addiction
Heroin is a drug in the opioid class, grouped with other substances made from morphine, or the poppy plant. It has effects similar to prescription painkillers and morphine but isn’t nearly as “clean” of a drug. It’s a drug purchased on the streets that is usually cut with any number of other things, from sugar or powdered milk to stronger drugs like fentanyl.
Heroin attaches to opioid receptors in the brain responsible for the perception of pain and some pleasure symptoms. They’re also responsible for regulating breathing, heart rate, and sleep patterns. This results in a dulled ability to feel pain and a heightened sense of pleasure or wellbeing. Heroin also causes a rush of euphoria and calmness that hooks people in.
The enticing effects of the first heroin high cause many people to chase this feeling to the point of developing a substance use disorder. Soon they start showing signs of heroin addiction that you might notice. These effects are both short-term and long-term, ranging from mild to severely life-threatening.
Short-Term Signs of Heroin Addiction
The short-term signs of heroin addiction are relatively easy to look for. They result from active use and are a pretty good giveaway that someone is using the drug.
Droopy Eyes or Pinned Pupils
Heroin causes a look of exhaustion, including droopy eyelids and dark circles beneath their eyes. Additionally, opioids in general result in smaller than normal or “pinned” pupils, even in dark rooms. Someone showing signs of heroin addiction will have the most difficulty hiding their eyes. This is one of the easiest ways to tell if someone is using the drug.
Sudden Weight Loss
People commonly experience nausea and vomiting when they use heroin. They have little to no appetite and have a difficult time holding the food they manage to eat. This often leads to sudden and drastic weight loss, causing a sunken and gaunt look.
Nodding out is one of the most common signs of heroin addiction. Nodding out refers to the way someone slips in between states of consciounsess and semi-consciousness while high. Their head droops down as they slip out of consciousness and they nod off.
Long-Term Signs of Heroin Addiction
Since heroin affects some important bodily functions like heart rate and breathing, the long-term effects are potentially drastic. The drug’s inconsistency and impurity, as well as the way someone uses it, can also lead to some lasting health effects.
Unexplained Periods of Absence
One of the most telling signs of heroin addiction is a person’s unexplained absences. They most likely won’t want to use around their loved ones so they disappear for hours or days at a time. Many even choose to leave home if they don’t get kicked out first. If someone you love disappears for lengths of time without an explanation and shows the above signs, you might have something to worry about.
Having Difficulties at School or Work
Substance abuse makes it difficult to perform well in school or at work. Does the person you know regularly perform well in the classroom or at the office? Did their production level or overall focus slip recently? Keep an eye out for other signs of heroin addiction to find out if they might have a problem.
Getting in Trouble with the Law
Heroin addiction is an expensive habit to maintain. What sometimes starts as an affordable alternative to painkillers soon becomes an insatiable addiction. Some people resort to stealing items from family and friends to pawn off for drug money. Others rely on committing robberies or home invasions once they run through those closes to them. This usually leads to some type of trouble with the law, whether for possession or for the theft itself.
Addressing Signs of Heroin Addiction
If someone you love admits to using heroin and wants to get help, there are places they can go. Addiction treatment facilities exist to show those with substance abuse problems another way of life. It surrounds them with others who understand what they’re going through and aim for the same goal of recovery.
Do you need assistance finding a treatment facility? Hawaii Island Recovery offers a beautiful location to remove them from their normal stomping grounds. They can focus entirely on their recovery at a place that understands the importance of holistic care. Call our admissions office today at 877-721-3556 to learn more!